Vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina. Say it with us: VAGINA. Now, look around. Did the world end? Is the sky falling? Have you become a social pariah? Obviously, not. So why are some people so skittish about using the proper anatomical word for this particular body part?
Just this week, a Michigan teacher was fired for dropping the V-bomb to a group of eighth graders as part of a class lecture.
Allison Wint was substitute-teaching for a middle school art class and giving a lecture on Georgia O’Keefe—an artist whose work necessitates a hearty discussion about female sexuality, femininity, empowerment, and, well, vaginas.
According to a statement to the Detroit Free Press, here’s what Allison recalls as the offending statement: “Imagine walking into a gallery when [O’Keefe] was first showing her pieces, and thinking, ‘Am I actually seeing vaginas here, am I a pervert? I’m either a pervert or this woman was a pervert.’”
“I thought if I used a euphemism, that would make it into a joke,” she says. “And I don’t think that’s a word you should be afraid of.”
Unfortunately, the school didn’t see it that way, citing a policy that requires teachers to get explicit approval before mentioning any aspect of reproductive health. So technically, Allison could have gotten fired for saying penis, ovary, egg, birth, or conception. What the eff?! Here’s to hoping we can all get a little more open about talking about our bodies soon.